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To the Dogs

To the Dogs

By Peter Culley
Categories: Photography, Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, Visual Arts
Hardcover : 9781551522418, 176 pages, 2008
Read Excerpt (PDF)


Featured in Modern Dog magazine and excerpted in The National Post

The history of the relationship between canines and humans is more complex than one would think. From Sparta to Stalingrad, the dogs of war, cleanup, guard duty, and companionship have been at our side; their loyalty knows no bounds, whether they are beloved pets or guardians of riot police or unsavoury fight fans. From companion to full-fledged member of the tribe, the dog has irrevocably moved into our homes, hearts and minds to such an extent that the boundaries between "owner" and "pet" have dissolved. The historical and contemporary photographs of To the Dogs explore this human-canine connection in ways that are alternately surprising, endearing, disturbing, and beautiful. The images range from William Wegman, Larry Towell and Eadweard Muybridge to depictions of local dog shows, a Moscow circus, a dogfight in Sarajevo, and a dog hotel in Japan. A major essay by the poet Peter Culley explores the international citizenry of dogs, and why they can tell us more about ourselves and our culture than we care to admit.

To the Dogs is published in hardcover and features 150 full-page photographs, including fifty in colour. Co-published by Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver.


A lyrical exploration of the complex relationship between man and dog.
-Montreal Gazette

- Montreal Gazette

The book is terrific -- To the Dogs is smart, provocative and compelling. And Culley's beautifully written text is original, unusual and interesting.
-Victoria Times Colonist

- Victoria Times Colonist

A lavish new book.
-The National Post

- The National Post

Culley interrogates the relationship between humans and the domesticated creatures that descended from wolves. ... The photos are fantastic, including work by Roger Ballen, Robert Capa, Lee Friedlander, Pieter Hugo, Paul Kane, Magnum Photos, and William Wegman.
-North Shore News

- North Shore News

Leave it to a poet to approach the domesticated pooch with a quizzical perspective and an eye for detail, fusing humor and indignation to produce a fascinating host of insights into human culture about our capricious monkey logic, our bankrupt, exploitive dark side. ... The photos are fantastic, including work by Roger Ballen, Robert Capa, Lee Friedlander, Pieter Hugo, Paul Kane, Magnum Photos, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, William Wegman, Garry Winogrand.
-North Shore Outlook

- North Shore Outlook

Culley's book celebrates the relationships between people and their dogs-or perhaps, dogs and their people. The writer accompanies his essay with dozens of beautiful photographs by various photographers. ... The ideal coffee table book for your dog-obsessed friends and family.
-Seattle Weekly

- Seattle Weekly

This handsome publication surveys more than 90 historical and contemporary potos of dogs. ... In the book's engaging essay, Peter Culley writes, "It's hard to believe that the Siberian husky and the Chihuahua in Paris Hilton's purse inhabit the same planet, let alone the same gene pool". ... Culley reflects at length on dogfighting and prfoessional athletes. he also muses on definitions of dog-dom; on the wild and the domesticated; and on our evolving connection with our nonhuman companions. His thoughts and reminiscences make a fine guide to this fascinating collection of images.
-Georgia Straight

- Georgia Straight

A beautiful coffee-table book. ... A wonderfully written essay accompanies the photos. A lovely addition to any book collection.
-TheSwankyPup. com


A wide selection of photographs, historic and contemporary, by photographers famous (including Robert Capa, Lee Friedlander, Pieter Hugo, Paul Kane, Hitoshi Sugimoto, William Wegman and Garry Winogrand) and unknown, of dogs - and wolves and coyotes and at least one hyena - in every situation. The text, by B. C. poet Peter Culley, is a beautifully written meditation on dogs and humans and their interconnectedness through the ages.
-The Globe and Mail

- The Globe and Mail